' ' Cinema Romantico: The Greatest Harrison Ford Line Reading Of All Time?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Greatest Harrison Ford Line Reading Of All Time?

It's easy to assume the answer to this question would arrive via the venerable "Star Wars" franchise. Perhaps when everyone's favorite Princess (sorry, Kate) says "I love you" and Ford's Han Solo replies - say it with me! - "I know." Or maybe you think it comes earlier in the same film when he declares: "You could use a good kiss!" Or when he wonders, not un-wrongly, "Who's scruffy looking?" Or simply when he calls Leia "Your worshipfulness." I mean, that's classic. Right? Worshipfulness is such a great word.

-"Your word is worshipfulness."
-"Could you use it in a sentence?"
-"Han Solo referred to Princess Leia as 'your worshipfulness.'"
-"Worshipfulness. W-O-R-S-H-I-P-F-U-L-N-E-S-S. Worshipfulness."

But, of course, you would be wrong. The Greatest Harrison Ford Line Reading Of All Time is found in his other most venerable franchise, the one in which he wears the fedora and bears the name of the place that houses the real Kokomo.

Yet I must stress, again, it's not what you're thinking. It's not: "Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?" It's not: "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage." It's a line I heard when I happened to catch about 10 minutes of the movie this weekend on TV. It's this......

"You wanna talk to God? Let's go see him together. I've got nothing better to do."

You might recall the situation. Marion has just died, except, of course, as we will soon find out she hasn't died. But right now Ford's Indy thinks she has and that's all that matters. So he does what any self-respecting male would in such a situation - drowns his sorrow in whiskey. Eventually he is approached by a few menacing men who direct him to a public meeting with his nemesis, the French archaeologist Belloq. "Belloq," Indy says, "I oughta kill you right now."

Belloq is also searching for the ark of the covenant - except he's doing it on Hitler's duestche mark - and he's essentially the one responsible for getting Marion killed and he forces Indy to have a seat and then he goes on and on and on like so many villains do in such situations before finally getting to the main point of his thesis - that the ark is "a radio for talking to God." And, thus, Indy declares the aforementioned line.

It's the way Ford says it. The gruffness long before the gruffness became his be-all, end-all trait, the way he halts just slightly between each word as if he's savoring all of them, but then, briefly, it gets even better because he stands and goes for his gun. I don't know if it had ever completely clicked in my mind, even though I've seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark" dozens of times, but, hey, Indy's about to waste this guy right here in front of everyone. Cold, cold blood. It's not that far from Han blasting Greedo, really, except that Han was so laconic and Indy for this moment in time suddenly becomes psychotic. Although, as we know, everyone else in the place pulls guns and Sallah's kids show up right on cue and so it doesn't happen because it can't happen because then you don't have the rest of the movie which means Spielberg didn't wimp out but still......

It's at least a little fun to think about, isn't it? What if Indy really had killed Belloq right then? They would've gone to talk to God together. And even though we would've missed out on the rest of the movie and that would've sucked, well, "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" never would've happened. That's something.


Ryan McNeil said...

A little throwaway moment in this scene that I've started loving is the way Ford says "Now you're just getting nasty"

That's gold!

Great post - this might be the most underrated scene in this whole wonderful film.

Nick Prigge said...

You're right. That's another great line. Really, the scene is filled with great Ford moments. And I love the way Spielberg shoots it, in one drawn out take with Ford in the foreground of the frame.

So much to love about that film.

"Yojimbo_5" said...


SJHoneywell said...

I'm teaching a film class for the last two and next nine weeks. I showed this on the first day.

You're right--this is a great scene--and great for both characters. Even more than the opening ("You could have warned them, if only you spoke Hovitos"), after these moments we know everything we need to know about Jones and Belloq.

Colleen said...

Ahhhh, well this is my all time favorite film so yes I love this line too. Ford delivers it with such malice. It's a fine piece of acting which is what puts his action films in a class by themselves. He's the reason I'll be at Cowboys & Aliens!

Ian Montgomery said...

That line is good. But my favorite stuff is from Temple of Doom. The way Indy bickers with Willie during the death trap scene is priceless.

"There are going to be two dead people in HERE!"

"Oh shut up, Willie!"

"Do it NOW!"

"Willie...we...are going...to DIE!"

Nick Prigge said...

Wait, am I to believe you like Willie? Or is it that you don't like her and, thus, you like that Indy is bickering with her? I mean, if Willie had died I can't imagine Indy would have drowned his sorrows in whiskey.